From the archives, 1915: KC’s ‘first city college’ opens downtown

100 Years, 100 Stories

The institution that would become Metropolitan Community College started out, in the fall of 1915, as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute at 11th and Locust streets. Operated by the Kansas City school board, the institute originally included a junior college, a teachers college (“normal school”) and a handful of vocational training programs.

“The children are recognizing a bargain by enrolling in this school,” E.M. Bainter, the institute’s principal, told The Kansas City Star. “They can live at home and take the first two years in college at minimum cost.”

The writer of that Star article imagined a school called the University of Kansas City. Eighteen years later, in 1933, a school by that very name opened. It’s now known as the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The second article here, from the old Kansas City Journal newspaper, reinforces the point that the Polytechnic Institute opened the doors to affordable higher education for Kansas City students and their families:

The ‘junior college’ courses which will be offered will give thousands of pupils in the years to come an opportunity of attending institutions of higher learning — pupils who would never otherwise be able to attend them. Even though a large proportion may be compelled to leave at the end of the two years, they will have secured advantages of the greatest value, represented by two years of study beyond the high school course. The most practical result of the junior college, however, will be the fact that it cuts the cost of a university education in two.

Here’s the article from The Kansas City Star (click to see it larger):

1915 KC Star_Page_1

And here’s the story from the Kansas City Journal, Sept. 10, 1915 (click to see it larger):1915 KC Star_Page_4